I have no formal links with Opus Dei. I first came across them in Rome when I was studying for a canon law licence. I was invited to an afternoon of recollection which was given by Fr Andrew Byrne. I enjoyed the talks very much and began to look forward to each recollection. Shortly after I returned to this diocese, Fr Andrew also returned to England and he suggested we try to organise a recollection for priests up here. As I had enjoyed his talks so much this seemed a good idea and so Fr Byrne has been coming to the diocese, with the permission of the bishop, since then. Fr Byrne gave a parish talk here in 2005 on `What is Opus Dei?` which, since it was during the height of the Da Vinci Code episode, drew a good crowd. This year we have had our first recollection by Fr Stephen Reynolds who is based in Glasgow. We have also had a couple of evenings of recollection for lay men which have gone well. I have to admit I know very little about St Josemaria and will need to swot up for Thursday. I have had a book of his sermons since my days in seminary. However there must be something to him given the organisation he left behind. I can safely say that all the priests of Opus Dei that I have met have been very impressive. I have always found them to be courteous, intelligent and devout. So I was happy this year when I was asked if we would like to receive a free `Mass kit` for St Josemaria`s feast day on Thursday so that we could make something of it together with other parishes around the country. I have no idea who will be the next bishop of Hexham and Newcastle but I think we could do very much worse than a priest of Opus Dei.